Total hip replacement as primary treatment of unstable intertrochanteric fractures in elderly patients
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Fifty-three patients with A2.2 and A2.3 intertrochanteric fracture according to the Muller classification were treated with total hip replacement between April 2000 and February 2004. The average age of the patients was 77 years. Average follow-up period was 3.7 years. We studied postoperative complications, mortality rate, functional outcome using the Harris hip score, time to return to normal activities, and radiographic evidence of healing. Two patients died on the third and fifth postoperative days. Seven more patients died within one year. The Harris hip score at one month was 66 ± 7 (mean ± standard deviation); at three months 72 ± 6; at one year 74 ± 5; at three years 76 ± 6 and in the 27 patients who completed five year follow-up it was 76 ± 8. Mobilisation and weight-bearing was started immediately in the postoperative period. Average time taken to return to normal daily activities was 28 days (range 24–33). No loosening or infection of the implants was observed. Total hip arthroplasty is a valid treatment option for mobile and mentally healthy elderly patients with intertrochanteric fractures. This procedure offers quick recovery with little risk of mechanical failure, avoids the risks associated with internal fixation and enables the patient to maintain a good level of function immediately after surgery.
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